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What the Apache attack chopper, IAF’s new acquisition, means for India

Apart from the US Army, these aircraft have found their way into the defence fleet of several nations like Greece, Japan, Israel, Singapore and UAE.

IAF procured its first Apache AH-64 E (I) helicopter. (Source: IAF)

The Indian Air Force Saturday received the first model of the Apache Guardian attack chopper from Boeing’s production facility in Arizona. The shipment of the first batch of the contracted choppers will be made in July this year.

Read | IAF gets first Apache attack chopper at Boeing plant in US

What the Apache Guardian chopper means for India

The Apache attack helicopters, as per the Air Force, will a give India a significant edge in joint future operations in support of land forces and is the country’s first pure attack helicopter in its arsenal. It is often described as the most lethal attack helicopter in the world.

The helicopters were developed by Hughes Helicopters as Model 77 for the US Army’s advanced attack helicopter program. The chopper was formerly called as AH-64D Block III it was renamed to AH-64E Guardian in 2012 after it added modifications to the older model.

The IAF asked for specific customisation of the aircraft suitable to its mountainous terrain and called its addition a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force’s helicopter fleet.

The Apache Guardian attack chopper has improved digital connectivity, Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, the engines have been upgraded to accommodate more power. It comes with the capability to control Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), full IFR capability and improved landing gear, increased cruise speed, climb rate, and payload capacity just to name some of its features. The chopper carries Hellfire missiles, aside from its arsenal of 70 mm rockets and an automatic cannon.

The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground. The ability of these helicopters to transmit and receive battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking, makes it a lethal acquisition.

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